State of Bliss

This past weekend I finally used up a gift certificate that my dad got me for Christmas (yes, I hoard gift certificates/cards like it is my job. I even have a special wallet that I carry for JUST gift cards. I still have one from The Husband when he was not even “The Husband” yet!). 

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Anyways, back to the gift card was for a local spa.  I normally don’t indulge in fancy pants spas, but it’s not because I don’t want to (hell no!)… it’s because they are damn expensive!  When I registered for the Half in Providence, I thought it would be a great time to use my gift certificate too. Post-race = much needed massage.

I scoped out the spa’s website and decided to get a shorter massage and a quick facial (it was called something cute like Buff ‘N Go).  When I called to make the reservation, the woman on the phone could not have been any nicer.  She was so accommodating and just down right pleasant.  It actually shocked me how much I enjoyed speaking with her.  As a person who normally orders everything online or runs into a store with my head on a mission to get in and get the heck out, it was pretty refreshing to realize that I did actually enjoy having a conversation with her (versus clicking a few buttons to request an appointment and being done in 30 seconds).

These days it seems that everything is online and it gets harder and harder for companies to actually engage with their consumers.  I know as a consumer I feel pretty darn special when I get a response to a website post, Facebook comment or tweet that I made to the company.  At the same time, I avoid calling companies because I am normally always put on hold (for extended periods for time). 

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Apparently, I don’t want to call and they actually don’t want me to either.  More and more we are directed to company websites for answers, but it lacks the human interaction and connection that people love so much.  The good news is that with platforms like Facebook and Twitter companies actually have the opportunity to directly connect with consumers faster and more efficiently.  Consumers are happy because their problems are solved, or they got a response they wanted to feel like a valued consumer.

Now back to my spa experience, I have to say that I forgot the benefits of actually speaking to someone on the phone. I’ve been so used to going online for everything that it came as a surprise to me how much that friendly voice meant.  I think that as long as companies are able to make that friendly connection (Southwest’s Twitter page come to mind) and provide information that is relevant to the consumer, they will benefit from using social media.  However, when they start talking at consumers (instead of listening and responding), that to me is like being put on hold… or a little bit like this…

This spa experience opened my eyes to seeing how important it is for companies to actual engage with their consumers through whatever medium they choose (online, in-person, etc.).  I even got a follow-up phone call a week later asking how my experience was and finding out with there was anything else they could have done or could do in the future.  To top it all off… the girl was actual SINCERE when she called!  I absolutely gave her my email address and signed up for their company’s Facebook page.  If the company’s social media interactions are anything like its in-person/over-the-phone experiences, I’m going to be one loyal customer.  That’s for sure.

(Oh and it doesn’t hurt that the massage and facial were out of this world!  Thanks, Dad! Awesome present! VERY much appreciated!)

Questions of the Day:

Do you participate in social media (commenting on company sites or tweeting to them)?

Are you an in-person or online shopper?  Or are there certain items that you will only get in-person? Online?

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10 thoughts on “State of Bliss

  1. I am an on-line person, although I use the phone if necessary. I use social media a little. However, if you haven’t already done so, my suggestion is to let that company know how impressed you were with the woman who helped you. Let not only her boss know, but the company big shots as well.
    Enjoying your blog, Sara. So impressed with your running and your writing!

  2. i am the exact opposite with gift cards! I guess I feel like I have to spend them immediately lol. kudos! And as far as the company site goes… I read this right after i had a Twitter-fit due to Comcast lol. I am so tired of companies not wanting to del with people directly. I had a simple question that 3 people and a “live” chat couldn’t help with. ugh. but anyways, glad to see you are still writing!! I need to get back to my blog too =)

    • Hey Rachel! Thanks for your comment! I had the same thing with Comcast a few weeks ago and ended up canceling part of our service. I wish Fios would come to my area so I could see what all the hype is about! (I am thinking that I should start shopping with you, so you could encourage me to use up those gift cards)! Haha thanks again – it’s good to hear from you!

  3. While I’m more of an online shopper — the quickness and acessibility is ALWAYS preferrable to me rather than an actual store, the art (and it IS an art) of customer service still remains a valuable tool to any business. As a sales representative, you are the “face” of your company. Customers that interact with you will determine their future based upon how well or how poorly -they- perceive they were treated. In an age where social media is being used to facilitate customer service issues (in addition to its other uses), ther personal interaction is slowly becoming a thing of the past to consumers. But fair warning to ANY company out there: do NOT completely trade in your customer service skills (curteousness, accessibility, etc.) for an impersonal, faceless online rep that will never personally interact with a customer. Be kind to your customers, and they will respond the same.

  4. One of the recent campaigns that SKYPE has been running says that communication should be real, and that means that people should actually talk to each other (not tweet, email, blog(!), IM, txt, . . . ). I think you are right that the ease of being able to click a link, write an email, and then wait for an answer has uses but should not be the only option (nor the best, nor the most valuable option) for communication. I had a similar experience buying clothing a few weeks back. Usually I do it online but I needed something quickly and so went into a Talbots actually and the sales people were friendly, helpful, and really quite nice.

    • Thanks for the comment. It is almost like we are all so online-focused (and wanting instant results) that we forget how nice human interaction can be! A reminder every now and again can be a good thing (much like your shopping experience).

  5. You can alway tell the difference between a machine response and a real person even on the web. What is it with the automated responses they pretty much say do not respond because no one is listening! Why is it so hard in an automated response to add some contact info for a real person?

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